Monday, September 03, 2007

09/03/07 - Labor Day, What's It Really About?

Well Happy Labor Day! Don't get sunburnt or eat too much at the picnic. But is that why we celebrate this holiday? Who is this celebration for? Why is it important to celebrate the working man and woman? The modern labor movement is responsible for the minimum wage rate, the eight-hour work day, the forty-hour work week, overtime, child labor laws and lot's more we take for granted.

Comic creators and cartoonists are most often freelance artists and writers. Without the confines of the 9 to 5 grind they work their magic in basement or attic studios far from the hum of neon track lighting and carpet covered cubicles. Until sometime in the 1980's many artists were considered "work for hire" and did not get their original art back - even more disturbing is the fact that many pages of original art were shredded or cut up into pieces just so no one could try to republish the work.

Many of the folks who inspired us as readers (if you were born in the sixties as I was) are now approaching retirement age. Most of them have worked for years without benefits (life insurance, health insurance, sick time or vacation days) and now have nothing but the dubious comfort of Social Security. Mark Alessi, the controversial and abrasive former owner of CrossGen Comics did a lot of classy things (in my opinion) while at the wheel of that company. He tried to be on time with his books, he started the Bridges Educational Outreach Program for bringing comics into the classroom and he brought back the studio concept. But one of his most significant actions was to help start an organization now called The HERO Initiative. That organization originally called ACTOR (A Commitment To Our Roots) started around 2000.

Here's the HERO website if you would like to learn more about this charitable organization that offers confidential "monetary assistance to former comic book creators requiring supplemental health, medical, and quality-of-life assistance.."

How To Help: You can help with money, material, and time, or something special.

1 comment:

  1. Looks a bit intimidating... is there a page on the site that I missed that has work by unestablished artists comics?